Professional Planner hit the nail on the head in the article: CFP or not CFP? The pen may not be mightier than the sword (July 29, 2016) that “all of the courses, exams and other study that a planner has done, over an often lengthy career, will be assessed to see if it can count towards … meeting the proposed new education, professional and ethical standards”.

The Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation should help financial planners be awarded credits in related units in the financial planning degree proposed new education, professional and ethical standards.

So too should the Association of Financial Adviser’s (AFA) Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP) designation as it too has formal learning that would reasonably be expected to provide credit exemptions to some of the 24 units in a Bachelors of Financial Planning degree, or for that matter, the 12 units in a Masters of Financial Planning degree.

Similarly, other formal learning gained through full or partial achievement of other relevant accredited qualifications or courses would also be considered for advanced standing, such as the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.

Advanced standing and RPL application process

The higher education process for advanced standing towards a degree, as opposed to the Vocational Education Training (VET) process for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) towards a diploma that the industry has been used to, is well established.

In relation to the new requirement for a bachelor’s degree, there are at least three formal processes to establish what previous learning experiences a financial planner has had that are relevant to one or more of the units in a degree course.

1. Advanced standing – recognition of formal learning
Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) completed in a recognised provider such as mentor education, a university or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.

Advanced standing example:

A potential candidate who has undertaken an accredited course such as the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning and practiced in the related competencies for at least a year could receive up to eight credit exemptions in a Bachelor’s of Financial Planning degree.


2. Credentialing – recognition of informal learning
Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities). Candidates would need to provide a paper on how their experience and study meets unit learning outcomes.

Credentialing example:

A potential candidate, as a financial planner who has an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning and who has practiced in the related competencies for at least five years could receive up to four credit exemptions in a Master’s of Financial Planning degree.


3. Pre-assessment – demonstration of knowledge and skills
Credit may be awarded on the basis of a student demonstrating requisite knowledge and skills in a unit in the degree course by successfully completing the related two-hour exam and providing evidence of their skills and application.

Pre-assessment example:

A potential candidate, such as a responsible manager, can apply to sit the exam that relates to a degree unit to demonstrate the requisite knowledge and provide evidence of related skills such as a peer review and maintenance of CPD.


The takeaway from understanding the three flexible options for applying for credit to be awarded in relation to related degree units, is that the education you have achieved to date, and are currently undertaking, should count towards your required Financial Planning degree.

Join the discussion